The Drums’ self-titled debut was one of the albums of 2010, and the soundtrack to that year’s summer, combining Beach Boys pop tunes with Kim Deal-esque bass riffs and singer Johnny Pierce’s catchy hooks and melodies.
Last yer’s follow up Portamento saw the band take their trademark sound to the next level, incorporating a little more ponderous introspection without abandoning their shiny, sugary pop sound. it’s an approach that has seen them taken to the collective busson of the UK indie scene, as evidenced by their two shows next week.
We sit down witih Johnny Pierce to find out why he reckons they’re such stars over here, what drives them to make honest pop tunes, and why acoustic shows don’t necessarily mean laid back and chilled out out.
You’re playing an acoustic set – will you be adopting the stools approach, like eighties ‘legends’ Extreme?
We’ve never done stools. I think we will try and make it a party so we will be on our feet. ·
You found success very quickly in the UK – what is it about your sound that connected with audiences here?
I think the kids in the UK are much more “on the pulse” than the rest of the world when it comes to new music. The UK also has a history of embracing pop music – which is what we do and will always do. In America, people are more interested in hard rock and hip hop.
You side-stepped any ‘difficult second album’ hiccups with Portamento – did releasing it so soon after your debut help maintain the momentum?
I don’t think timing had anything to do with the success of Portamento. I think it really comes down to just writing meaningful songs and not compromising. We have always said we wanted to be consistent and stay true to our vision and that is to write simple, honest songs. With all the manufactured music out there now, I think people are ready to return to something real.
You nearly broke up making the album – what was it that lead to this, and is it resolved?
Well this band is made up of bull-headed people- and I think that is what makes it work. I also know that it brings a lot of hardship and a lot of tension within the band, but that tension seems to make its way into the writing and I appreciate that and so in a way…we all welcome this drama…I think it will always be there. In the long run, it seems to make us stronger and closer.
Will you be taking longer for record number three and/or incorporating any new musical influences?
Yes. We are planning on taking a long-needed break from recording the next album. We have been going non-stop since 2008 and come this fall, we will take some serious time off. I think it will help us come back and make a killer third album.
How do your individual influences combine to make the Drums’ sound?
Jacob and I have so many of the same influences because we have essentially grown up together. We haven’t left each other’s sides in about fourteen years. There is very little that we don’t agree on. We both love and hate most of the same things and I think that’s why we don’t have to discuss much when going in to the recording process.
Who is the prankster of the band?
I guess I am. I mean, It’s not so much what I do…I am just a bit outspoken so it’s more of what I say. I don’t know though, Jacob is pretty funny too.
You went from playing small venues to headlining iconic venues like the Forum – will it be Wembley Stadium by the end of the year or do you prefer intimate gigs such as this?
I guess it could go either way, but things just seem to keep getting bigger. We are still shocked by all the love we have received. What we do is very selfish. We have a specific fetish for a very specific type of sound and the fact that so many people have identified with it and supported it means the world to us. I’d love to play Wembley someday, but there is nothing as special as an intimate gig like, say, The Old Blue Last.
You played Hyde Park with the Kings of Leon – would you like to hit that sort of stadium-sized success yourselves?
Sure, it would be nice. But it isn’t our goal. I just wanna make a bunch of great records full of great songs. I’ve never shied away from a big crowd or commercial success- as long as we don’t have to compromise creatively.
What was your ‘we’ve made it’ moment?
When NME put us on the cover 400 times in one year. That was a little crazy and little confusing.!
If you could tour with anyone in music – past or present – who would it be?
I’d love to tour with Chairlift or Twin Shadow or The Kills.
The Drums Breakfast Club
Thursday 1st March 2012 (doors 8am)
Floridita: 100 Wardour Street, London, W1F 0TN
Tickets are free and can be applied for through the New York Bakery facebook page from Thursday 16th Feb and then emailing firstname.lastname@example.org